East Dunbartonshire SNP election candidate and Tory joint council leader clash over school proposals
The local SNP election candidate and the Tory leader of East Dunbartonshire Council have clashed over controversial school catchment proposals.
In an recent article in the Herald online, the SNP’s Amy Callaghan said the council plans were “unworkable and unfair” and is backing calls for a rethink after attending a public consultation meeting at Bishopbriggs Academy.
The proposed changes concern the way applications for children to enter primary and secondary education are prioritised.
Parents are furious the plans may result in children being turned away from schools in their own catchment area, and a petition against the proposals has gained more than 3,000 signatures.
Ms Callaghan said she wanted to stand up for parents, adding : “No child within the catchment area should risk being turned away from the school of their choice due to these proposals.”
She added: “I am more than happy to stand up for those requiring a local champion to speak on their behalf.”
But joint council leader, Conservative councillor Andrew Polson (Bearsden South) accused Ms Callaghan of a “pathetic bid to curry favour with parents”.
He said: “We have to remember this is a consultation by council officers and has nothing to do with any prospective MP of any party.
“It is shameful the SNP have jumped on this issue in a pathetic bid to curry favour with parents.
“As joint leader of the council I can assure ALL parents that not only are all their concerns being listened to by officers but I anticipate and am confident this consultation will result in amendments made to the proposals that parents will be happy with.”
Councillor Polson added: “The consultation has been extended for the very purpose of getting as much input as possible from all interested parties. For any prospective politician to whip up undue fear and use this as an election issue is not only flagrant but very unhelpful.”
Ms Callaghan responded: “This is a spectacular misjudgement from Councillor Polson and his Tory colleagues to defend these proposals.
“I’ve attended several of the public meetings on the proposals and have spoken first hand to concerned parents. If acting on the genuine concerns of parents is ‘pathetic’, as Councillor Polson says, then that speaks volumes of his leadership.”